Rockets can't rely on 'superhuman' James Harden, Mike D'Antoni warns

By Tom Webber 14 January 2019 134
Rockets can't rely on 'superhuman' James Harden, Mike D'Antoni warns

The Rockets can't count on James Harden being "superhuman every night," coach Mike D'Antoni said after the reigning MVP tied an NBA record for the most missed 3-pointers in a game.

Although Harden tied Kobe Bryant for the most successive 30-point game (16) by scoring 38 in a 116-109 loss Sunday to the Magic, he was just 1-for-17 from beyond the arc to match Damon Stoudamire's unwanted mark for long-range futility.

D'Antoni was disappointed by Houston's defensive display in Orlando and called on other players to step up when the six-time All-Star is having a difficult time.

"The problem is you can't rely on [Harden] to be superhuman every night. We have to have some contribution from other guys," D'Antoni said.

"I thought (the Rockets) came in with a lack of focus, especially on the defensive end and it carried over on the offensive end. We didn't play well.

"I just thought the whole game we didn't have the right focus for a team that plays well. Steve Clifford has [the Magic] playing really well.

"We got 10 points, 10 points, 10 points up and let them hang around, and we didn't have the right amount of focus and you get beat. Hopefully we'll learn from it."

Harden didn't want to dwell on his shooting struggles, insisting that defense was the greater issue for the Rockets.

He said: "[The 3s] just didn't go in. It's not even about offense though, defensively we weren't locked in enough and we gave up 70 points or something [actually 64] in the second half. We scored enough points to win.

"We didn't have our [defensive] focus level like the last few weeks.

"We don't have the margin of error. We've got to come in locked in from the beginning of the game for all four quarters. You give a team like this some confidence and open shots, and they made them. It's pretty simple."

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Tom Webber

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